Billed as being the most “unwatchable, eye-gouging blowout of the season,” the game that the sports commentators, Bill Walton and Rich Eisen, in the opening to “Swish Swish” are referring to turns out to serve as an accurate description for the video itself. And no, it’s never a coincidence when it comes to Katy Perry or Taylor Swift releasing content at the same time as the other. In the former’s case, it was more than probably unwise to try to attempt to compete with Swift today, as she determines to release her first single from her sixth album, the very deliberately titled Reputation. The teasers for the album and single have thus far been very cryptic, albeit direct in their message: if you’re a venomous snake, look out, ’cause I’m about to own being one too. With a few videos featuring what appears to be a snake (literal scientists have actually debated over if it is or not, Swift has declared it is), Swift is bracing us all for something that’s sure to, at the very least, be more earth-shattering than the continued tripe Perry has been serving up of late.
With a premise loosely ripped off from Space Jam, Katy “Kobe” Perry plays on a team called the Tigers, a ragtag group of misfits that also includes Gaten Matarazzo of Stranger Things, Jenna Ushkowitz of Glee,
model Dexter Mayfield, vlogger Christine Sydelko and the viral “Backpack Kid” dancer Russel Horning. To further align with the lyrics of the song, the team they play against is The Sheep, far bulkier and brainless, therefore naturally more athletically inclined. With a clueless coach played by Molly Shannon guiding them, it’s no wonder the only thing that can seem to help the team is a random IV injection of some sort of substance that quickly makes Perry an ace on the court. What’s the message of this, one wonders? Natural talent doesn’t matter if you have some sort of quick-fix solution.
Nicki Minaj appears for the halftime show to sing her verse initially with a visor covering her eyes out of what we can only assume is embarrassment for appearing in this video. She then removes it to reveal a Beyonce-level whiteness (and thinness), finishes belting it out and then demands of Katy, “Get it together.” But there’s nothing that this video, directed by Dave Meyers (usually much more innovative with a resume that includes Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On” and, more recently, Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE” and “LOYALTY”), can do to clean up its banal act. And with Perry constantly trying to play at the zany Lucille Ball role, attempting to toe the line between “sexy” and funny, there’s nothing to be found in “Swish Swish” other than a woman who needs to put out content in time for her hosting and performing gig at the 2017 MTV VMAs on Sunday. And yes, undeniably, Swift is going to be the only one who comes out with a slam dunk on this August 24th, yet another date tracking the strange, undercutting feud in their timeline.